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Beyond Metropolitanism and Nativism: Re-grounding Media Theory

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AbstractWhile de-Westernisation is an interesting political intervention in media theory, analytically it offers little. We critique this approach through six inter-related arguments. The first point of critique challenges the putative singularity of the West. The second line of enquiry raises questions about the emergence of new academic disciplines and their intellectual offerings. Our third point is that the call to de-Westernise Media Studies is naïve, ignores history and the long patterns of global interconnectedness that have mutually formed the West/Rest. The fourth argument is that “de-Westernisation” suggests that the theory and methods of Media Studies offer nothing of use outside their original birthplaces, while the fifth argument is the conceptual danger of nativism. The sixth critique centres on the problem of essentialising culture as a determinate object. Examining the contemporary media practices of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we suggest that the true alternative to a repressive theocracy is its internal challenge by women, students and other parts of civil society that offers a critical third way beyond the binary divide.

Affiliations: 1: Goldsmiths College, University of London and SOAS, University of London

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2014-01-29
2017-09-22

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